Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little kings and queens for a week

“Ciao, Hello, Namaste, Hullo, Talofa, Shalom !” It was ‘International Week’ in the slums of Mumbai and the current multinational GPM-Entwine cohort introduced the children to several different cultures through dance, song and games - and the children were simply fascinated by it all! 

After the children ‘flew’ around the class like airplanes and ‘landed’ in different countries, Tori, from the UK and Jenny from the US presented their respective countries with fun games and activities. Tori showed pictures of Buckingham Palace and The Queen with a crown on her head while Jenny spoke about the Statue of Liberty that also has a crown on its head. The children then received colored paper crowns of their own and were taught how to wave like the Queen of England-there were lots of giggling!

Shira, who was born in South Africa, talked about safaris and animals. The children acted like elephants, lions , monkeys and other wild animals most of which can be found also in India. People passing by the classes in the slums were quite shocked to hear roaring lions and screeching monkeys!

Eden from Israel explained the magical part of the Western Wall in Jerusalem where many people write their wishes on pieces of paper and place them in the cracks of the wall. The children then wrote down their wishes and told the rest of their class: how they wish to be policemen, nurses, rickshaw drivers or doctors, how they would like to do well in school and how much they want to make their parents proud. Eden told the children that when she returns to Israel she will place their wishes in the crevices of the Western wall!

Deborah, from Italy cooked pasta for the children, a food that they have not tried before. Some children really liked the new taste while others asked for some (Indian) spices to add to their pasta! The few words of Italian were difficult to pronounce but the children had a ball trying them out.
Leah from the US had spent several months in Samoa and introduced the children to the culture of this tiny Pacific island. The children had fun learning a cute mixed Samoan and English nursing rhyme about walking, talking and love.

The aim of ‘International Week’ was to simply broaden the children’s understanding of what is beyond the world they know-the slums of Mumbai. Indeed most of the children have never left the slums and have no exposure to the rest of India let alone the rest of the world. 

A fantastic moment happened at the end of one teaching day when groups of children could be seen throughout the slums wearing their crowns and royally waving like the Queen. The smiles on their faces showed that in the slums that day they were all little kings and queens.
'Look at us! We are waving like the Queen of England!'
A boy makes a wish
Leah with Anju, the teacher and her baby Ayush who also wears a crown
Talking about the countries of the world
Walking through the slums wearing crowns
Listening to a Samoan poem
With Eden...
Roaring like lions on safari in Africa
Yummy pasta from Italy
More yummy pasta from Italy
'Hello' and 'Thank you" in many languages
Placing a wish: 'I wish to make my parents proud!'
In class 
 What sound does a monkey make?

Ciao Mumbai

We are so excited to have Deborah Dell'Ariccia as one of the five current participants of Gabriel Project Mumbai -Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps volunteering with underprivileged children in the slums of Mumbai. Born and raised in Rome, Italy, Deborah attended the local Jewish school and became involved with the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement in the city. After high school, Deborah spent a year on a kibbutz and dedicated her time to social justice causes in Israel. The year in Israel was a life-changing learning experience for Deborah who received training in education and leadership while being sensitized to social justice issues. During this time, she worked closely with the Bedouin community.
Deborah returned to Rome and became an integral part of the Jewish community’ Educational staff as a Youth Director for two years. She has worked across Europe on informal Jewish Education programming. Deborah has helped facilitate a broad range of programs including the 2007 Maccabi Games in Rome, European Adrachà seminaries and local synagogue activities in Italy.

After making Aliya in 2007, Deborah continued her studies at Beit Berl in Informal Education and Social Science and participated in the academic course "Education and Social Changes” where she volunteered in a variety of organizations, all focussing on children The breadth of her knowledge and teaching experience is an amazing asset to the group of volunteers currently working with underprivileged children in the slums of Mumbai.

One of the social organizations that Deborah has been active is ‘Mesila’ that supports Sudanese and other refugees in Israel. She has implemented awareness and neighborhood programs that bring the Israeli and refugee communities together as well as: coordinated creative and educational activities for foreign children, worked on leadership and group development with a group of elderly North-African Jewish women at Community Center ‘Beit Dani’ and received a scholarship through "Shahak Project" where she was responsible for creative and recreational activities at an emergency center for abused children.

It is fitting that Deborah, a certified Yoga instructor, declares that her main driving force in life is “to empower people in seeing the strength they have within.”

“I am really happy that I am able to join GPM , an organized social service program I India, helping the most marginalized children in the slums. I am excited to be able to use GPM as a springboard to better understand Indian culture. I have a lot of experience and training working with different demographics of children and I am eager to apply my training at GPM.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Introducing GPM's Director of Alumni Relations: Rachel Karlin!

With over 60 volunteer alumni of GPM activities in the slums, we are so excited to welcome Rachel Karlin as Director of Alumni Relations. Rachel is in the process of organizing and gathering all past GPM volunteers together in an online group platform to discuss and share ideas.Rachel's aim is to keep past alumni connected with each other, connected with the issues pertaining to poverty, social justice, literacy and nutrition, and stay connected with the beautiful children they have impacted while volunteering with GPM.

Rachel is a seasoned technical writer who devotes her free time to volunteer at soup kitchens, teen shelters and environmental causes. She has successfully balanced her professional life in the high-tech industry with her dedication and passion for advancing social justice issues.

At her current position in a multinational hi-tech company she is an ambassador for the community relations projects and strives to spread awareness about volunteering opportunities to other hi-tech employees. She has an MA from Wayne State University in Technical Communication and an MA from Bar Ilan University in Creative Writing. 

Besides joining Gabriel Project Mumbai as Director of Alumni Relations, Rachel is a source of great guidance as the latest member of the Gabriel Project Mumbai Advisory Committee.

We are so happy to have Rachel with us